Mr. Spicebush

by Nolan Ramer | Apr 1, 2023 | 0 comments

Spicebush Swallowtail caterpillar
A close up of a 5th instar spicebush swallowtail caterpillar. Photo ©

The orange caterpillar inched along the stick. Every so often he paused to wave his head, looking around carefully to see if anyone was disturbing his domain. This spicebush swallowtail caterpillar was busy with his little caterpillar life—biding his time till he would become a butterfly.

Then along came Boy. He stopped short at the sight of this unusual, smooth-skinned orange caterpillar. He reached out to touch him, and instantly Caterpillar pulled his head beneath his body and reared up a hugely swollen fake head with large fake eyes. He waved his frightfully large head menacingly, but Boy picked him up anyway and carried him indoors to show him to the rest of the family.

Once more Caterpillar waved his head, a head that was much too large for the body. Sister poked him briefly with a small object and, sensing a new threat, Caterpillar instantly shot out two horn-like things which produced a terrible smell. Now Caterpillar was left alone!

Later Boy picked him up again and put him into a jar. This did not suit Caterpillar at all. He wanted the freedom and privacy of his own domain. As soon as Boy left, he crawled up the side of the glass jar and out the top. By the time Boy showed up again, Mr. Spicebush was gone, and perhaps by now he has been transformed into a lovely butterfly.

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